How to make friends with the neighbors?

My wife and I just moved into a new area and we would like to make some new friends. We met some neighbors down the street earlier and they seem pretty nice, and roughly in the same stage of life as we are. What are some good ways to befriend these neighbors without scaring them away? Obviously because we just met, we only know where they live, and their first names. Would it be too forward if we invited them over for dinner some night? We would like to make some friends, but we don’t want them to think we’re going to kill them and wear their faces if they come over.

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Neither of us have really have much experience in this kind of situation.

Hmm…good question.
We got to know our neighbors pretty quickly, as we all moved into the new subdivision about the same time.
Since then, neighbors on both sides have changed and we are friendly with them, but not like we get together often to socialize.
Some people like getting to know neighbors more than others - I personally like a cordial relationship, with an occasional chat outside and to let them know if anything odd is happening in the neighborhood or to let them know we are out of town for a few days and give them our cell numbers in case anything happens.

One side of us is the professional magicians (hey, it’s Vegas) and they have pretty big parties on a regular basis - and we have been invited to all of the parties. We usually stop by to say hello. They have been to our house for a quick, informal BBQ, but other than that, just quick conversations in the driveways when we meet.
The other neighbors - well, the wife is little Miss Chatty and she is a one person neighborhood watch; she knows EVERYTHING that is going on, and who has parties and how long and who is moving out, etc. Her husband and two daughters, on the other hand, are almost invisible. Her husband ducks back in the house if he sees anyone and has never once said “hello” - same for the the adult twin daughters - never a word in all these years. The wife has been in our house and stops by on holidays, but we have never been invited there and her husband and kids have never been to our house.

So I guess my answer would be it depends. Some people like to get to know their neighbors, and others don’t. Perhaps invite them over for an “informal” get together, maybe when you are already having a party, or maybe for a BBQ in nice weather.
As far as dinner with just the four of you? Hmm…I have to admit, I don’t think I would particularly like that as a first meeting - would rather have someone say, “hey, we have some friends coming on Friday night, stop by and say hello…” Easier to chat and move on, and they get to see you and your friends and it just makes it easier for them to duck out early, or hang around if you all click.

I wish I knew too. Three years living in my current house and I still know none of my neighbors. :frowning:

My best guess is to maybe “stage” running into them a few times…maybe walking the neighborhood when they are out so you can say hello and maybe strike up a conversation. Then go with the BBQ idea…make it informal and maybe invite other neighbors as well.

Interesting comment / user name combo :eek:
Seriously, here’s my advice - apply or discard as feels appropriate:

  • Invite them for something short and close-ended, like “drinks and snacks 5-7 pm Saturday night.”
  • Invite several people, not just them, and say so on the invite. “We’re having two or three couples over and wondered if you’d like to join us.”
  • Drop off a written invitation when they aren’t home, so it’s low pressure; if for some reason they really don’t want to be friends, they’ll have time to think up a polite excuse without being put on the spot.
  • Are any kids involved? If so, make it clear whether they are included in the invite or not. Kids can also serve as an easy focal point for a social event if you have children the same age/gender - “we just got a new Wii sports game for Johnny, would Matt like to try it? Why don’t you come too, we can all hang out while they are playing.”

Chances are they would love to have friends who are neighbors - it’s great if you want to leave a spare key with someone, have someone feed the cat while you are gone for the weekend, etc. On the other hand, if they seem reserved, don’t feel bad - it is probably just the pace of modern life catching up to them and they know they don’t have time to be proper friends.

Right, I should have added in my OP that we would like to be friends only if they want to be friends. We don’t want to be some weird creeper neighbors. We aren’t in a super hurry though, so maybe we’ll see if we run into them a couple more times before doing anything. I was a little hesitant about the dinner, but I love the informal BBQ idea, because like you said, it gives them an easy come and go if things don’t go smoothly. Thanks for the ideas so far.

ETA: If we went the invitation route, do you tape it to their door, or what? If that would be an appropriate way to go, it would take the pressure off them, and also take a little pressure off me or my wife.

I’m not a neighborly neighbor myself, but last year a family moved in two doors down, and shortly after had a little block party in their yard. It looked to be a success, insofar as a number of people showed up. I don’t know how things ended up in terms of establishing relationships, except that they seem pretty friendly with my immediate next-door neighbor.

I’m part of a different generation and that might have something to do with it, but I hate it when my neighbors bother me. :stuck_out_tongue:

We find that walking our dogs is the best way to talk to our neighbors; everybody will stop to talk to us then. If you don’t have dogs, get some and walk them. Soon you will know everyone worth knowing.

Have a party. Invite some of YOU’RE friends you can count on being there. Then as stated above, drop off a few notes to your neighbors when they’re not around.

Having your friends there will prevent any awkwardness. Like say for instance only one of your neighbors decides to show up for your so called party.

It also lets your new neighbors know you’re not a bunch of face chopping, face wear=ers.

Tape it to their door??? My God man! Call them and invite them over. If you don’t have their phone number, just walk over, knock on their door and invite them over in person, when you are talking to them, get their phone number. If they blow you off, no biggee.

Whatever you do don’t do like our neighbor.
Get drunk.
Mow without a shirt for a couple hours and drink beer mowing.
Walk your swaying fat hairy sweaty shirtless body on over to us with a beer in your hand and try to speak to us.

Repeat this on a few more occasions, sometimes with a stinking cigar in hand before giving up and writing us off as unfriendly.

Yes. Don’t be shy. You can knock on the door at a reasonable hour.

Thanks for posting this OP!

I just moved in to a 4-unit townhouse. My birthday is in a few weeks, and so my SO suggested we throw a combo open house/birthday thing for our friends - where they can stop by between 2-6 and see the new place, chat a bit, and then go on with their merry lives.

Since our parking lot is small and some of our friends might inadvertently park in the wrong place, I was planning on inviting the neighbors/giving them my phone number in case there were any problems.

Of course, I never actually see any of the neighbors so far. And I’m usually pretty outgoing - but I get incredibly shy around neighbors for some reason.

Somebody narrowly escaped…and it wasnt you IMO.

I strongly prefer being on “friendly terms” with my neighbors, than trying to be friends with them. You never know what will set someone off - whether it be your politics or religion, or the way you maintain your property. And if you get too intimate with neighbors and the relationship sours, you sill live near them and see them all the time.

Like folk said, always be ready with a smile and a wave, and a heartfelt, “Hey neighbor!” Maintain your property to at least the neighborhood average, don’t be the loudest house on the block, don’t use power tools too early or too late, and keep your kids and other animals from trashing other peoples’ gardens. But look outside your immediate neighbors for your friends.

I am totally not a neighborly neighbor at all, but if you must invite me, please do it to a BBQ or something else that I can escape from early.

To each his own but I do kinda embrace Dinsdale’s attitude myself. I try to be a good neighbor and very friendly and helpful to everyone but also keep relationships at the curb for the most part. It just really seems to work well that way. We have become pretty much best friends with some neighbors but they were around the corner and that took several years before it really blossomed into what it is now.

I wish all neighbors were considerate enough when someone’s new to do what ours did last week. We just moved into a new neighborhood. Our next door neighbors gave us a week to unpack and get settled, then the mother and daughter stopped by to introduce themselves and give us a beautiful vase of flowers and a large chocolate chip cookie with “Welcome to Lakewood” written in icing. They were wonderful, gave us their numbers for if we needed a sitter and I’m thrilled to have someone so thoughtful so near.

I’m keeping their actions and the degree to which we appreciated them in mind for when the next person moves in around us.

Better not to mention that possibility even in passing. :smiley:

As to your question - some people seem to have the knack. My father in law does. He’s the sort who is on first-name terms with all of his neighbours - hell, he’s on first name terms with my neighbours!

I’m more stand-offish, I guess.

What you want to do is get them to notice you. There are many ways to accomplish this.

After dark, sneak over and peek into their windows so you can see what sorts of things they have. That way you’ll have something to talk about. Do this a few times and when you’re finished spying, tap on the window and quickly run away. Make sure they don’t see you, that’s half the surprise! They’ll be like kids at Christmas, wondering who has taken an interest in them!

If you see them out in their yard, try to get some pictures of them and then put one in their mailbox every night. They’ll be going crazy with curiosity, wondering who their admirers are!

If you have a dog, walk it past their house and encourage it to “do potty” on their lawn. That way you’ll have an excuse to linger and hope they come out to chat.

With just a little ingenuity and imagination, you’ll have two best friends in no time!

You can include a note with that remark about how their faces are so nice you’d like to wear them. Everyone enjoys a complement!